As part of our celebrations for the 2021 Huluku Competition we invited our top 3 placed digital illustrations to share a little about themselves and their amazing work. In this interview we chat to Cristina Alvarez who was the 3rd place runner up in the 2021 competition with her jazz age artwork ‘Everyone’s Invited’
Huluku has been blessed by having inspirational artists and designers enter the competition and we are delighted to introduce Cristina as the 3rd place runner up for the 2021 competition.
Q1: Tell us a little about yourself, what are you up to at the moment?
Cristina: I am a fashion designer in love with illustration. I decided textiles would become my canvas and thus created my own brand mixing textile design and Colombian leather goods craftsmanship (www.tabibito.com.co).
I am currently exploring a different version of my work by building my personal brand as an illustrator and freelancer (www.cristinadraws.com). I really look forward to selling my art and telling stories in as many formats as possible.
Q2: Does the place you live or are from inspire you in your work or life and if so how?
Cristina: I am from Colombia and since I was very young I’ve always been in contact with animals and nature. I would say this is definitely reflected in my art. I absolutely adore animals. They ooze freedom, authenticity, mysticism and colourful expression in whatever they do. I love reflecting that kind of magic in my work as an artist.
Q3: What was your earliest ambition?
Cristina: My earliest ambition was to be a horse alternative therapist. But that was decades ago! As a professional designer I think it was to reach as many people as I could with my bags, which are the ones that have been carrying my most authentic art for several years now.
Q4: Have you fulfilled it?
Cristina: Yes and no. I have reached a lot of people and seeing them walk by, on the street, with my bags, brings me a level joy no one could ever imagine! But, no, I haven’t reached even close to half of what I wanted to achieve in my initial vision. It was (is) a pretty big vision and it keeps evolving.
Q5: Ambition, Luck or Talent? What matters most in the creative world?
Cristina: All. Though instead of luck I would call it timing. And instead of talent, consistency. Ambition gives you vision of how far you want to go, and keeps you dreaming and aiming high. Consistency is the best friend of “practice makes perfect” and I believe not much will happen without it. And timing comes from the momentum of feeling good about what you’re working on, and it makes things happen easily.
Q6: What would you like to achieve that you haven’t been able to yet?
Cristina: I would like to incorporate my art and creativity into the leather goods industry in more ways, with my current and future brands. I would also love to get involved in the editorial industry by creating wonderful book covers and illustrations for content I appreciate.
Q7: Who is your creative inspiration or mentor?
Cristina: I was influenced by designers and design houses like Alexander McQueen, Mary Katrantzou and Balmain. They all inspired me to see fashion as a limitless form of artistic expression, rather than just a way of creating commercial clothing that, yes, we all need and use daily, but anyone can easily design, copy and replace them too (artistically speaking). I wanted to be able to express all the colour and creativity within me, and they lighted the way for me to see I could do it in a functional way within fashion.
Q8: Do you have a favourite design or artistic movement? Why?
Cristina: I am moved by Impressionism and Surrealism. I find mesmerizing the use of apparently random brush strokes to create a bigger picture. The combination of colour that doesn’t even belong there, but that ties up the painting is very satisfying for me to experience. I am also fascinated by the reinterpretation and transformation of what we “agree is reality”, and thus Surrealism like that of Ray Caesar’s is very appealing to me.
Q9: What style or technique in art and design makes you feel the happiest/or feel good?
Cristina: I’ve always felt at ease with the fluidity of watercolours mixed with the detail of fine point line art. I love lines that give some order to an otherwise absolutely soft and free flowing medium. I also like working on Procreate and Photoshop. I really enjoy the freedom and flexibility digital mediums grant, by allowing the exploration of art with anything from colour to texture to weird effects, all in one.
Q10: How did you hear about the Huluku Competition?
Cristina: I was looking for illustration competitions I would feel drawn to. When I read the brief I knew it was a competition I’d feel very comfortable and proud being a part of.
Q11: How did you get inspired to create your art work for the competition?
Cristina: I started thinking about where in everyday life I could find groups of people working together, and musicians came to mind. I came upon a Jazz band flyer and it felt absolutely iconic. I’d seen this same representation before and, as always, I was drawn to the passion and energy it carried. I wondered how a modern reinterpretation of it would look like and I knew that was it. I would create my own version of what a diverse and inclusive modern Jazz band could look like. After all, music is a universal language, ever inclusive and limitless.
Q12: Were the themes of inclusion, diversity and authentic representation something you were familiar working with prior to the competition?
Cristina: Not really. But I do love authenticity and people being free to express themselves, as much as I love learning from the various cultures around the world. Anything that is a representation of open minded values as well as respect and appreciation for others, is something I can easily support and have fun being a part of.
Q13: Are you planning on building the concepts you incorporated into your entry into more of your work? If so, how?
Cristina: I hadn’t thought about it but I would love to, now that you mention it! You leave me wondering what else I could do to express inclusion, freedom of expression, diversity and joy through my art.
If you’d like to find out more about Cristina and her work please check out her social and websites for both her own work and her design brand TABIBITO